Politicians and unions are calling on the Government to move public holidays that fall on weekends to Monday as workers face losing two days off in 2011.

Waitangi Day is on a Sunday this year and ANZAC Day is cancelled out because it coincides with Easter Monday.

Labour leader Phil Goff says he wants to see legislation guaranteeing a day off for each public holiday, regardless of where it falls.

"I can't think of any reason why people should be deprived of a public holiday twice every seven years.

"I think most people would feel there should be more consistency."

Giving workers the extra days off would be affordable, he says.

"It's not an economic issue. If five out of seven years you can afford it, then you should be able to the other two."

"I know for years and years and years we said we couldn't afford four weeks annual leave and we've achieved that."

His stance is backed by the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union, which represents 50,000 workers.

Its national secretary Andrew Little says the union has been negotiating with employers to give workers an extra day off to compensate for losing the two statutory holidays this year.

He points to Australia, where Australia Day and ANZAC Day are celebrated on Monday if they fall on a weekend.

"In my opinion, ANZAC Day and Waitangi Day are the most significant days to New Zealand. They should be properly observed.

"The point of observing significant days is you take time to reflect. That simply doesn't happen on a weekend."

Government should have backed permanent the changes when it made amendments to the Holidays Act at the end of 2010, he says.

"It's an issue of fairness in that the Holidays Act says you are entitled to 11 statutory days off and the best you can hope for this year is nine."

But Prime Minister John Key says there are no plans to introduce legislation to create the extra holidays.

Any change to public holidays would be permanent and its introduction would have to come after thorough research, he says.

"I acknowledge it will be frustrating for New Zealanders but it's not something that will be on the agenda at the moment.

"It's something we could consider but it's not something I've had much advice on."

Moving a weekend public holiday to Monday would create questions about what dates people would be paid time-and-a-half for working, he says.

He is also concerned at the prospect of moving Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day celebrations away from February 6 and April 25.

Mr Goff says that issue could be addressed by holding celebrations on the traditional dates, but moving the days off.

Mr Little says Mr Key's stance comes out of reluctance to offend a "small section of the business community".